Supervisor safely evacutes staff after factory explosion

Worker helps people escape fire

MUSKEGON, MICH. - The third shift supervisor at Muskegon Casting says there was an explosion and, in what seemed like seconds, the plant was full of flames.

The factory in the Port City Industrial Park on Sheridan Drive was also full of workers when the fire broke out late Tuesday, March 14.

He is the supervisor, so Mark Houtman says he knew it was his duty to make sure everyone escaped.

Related: Muskegon Castings Corp. a 'total loss' after overnight fire

He went to work stations, lavatories and break rooms rushing everyone out. There were about 40 employees inside, and Houtman says he didn't leave until they were all safe.

“I would say it was between a minute and a minute and a half to when the fire actually started to the time I got everybody out,” recalls Houtman. “I turned around and I was totally engulfed in flames. And we did good. No one got hurt. No one went to the hospital.

"God was watching out for us.”

The fire at the automotive parts plant started just before midnight Tuesday and burned until late Wednesday morning.

The owner says he will rebuild and none of the employees will lose their jobs. Investigators are still looking for the exact cause of the fire.

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